live_every_week_like_its_sh.jpgWhen I am not traveling the world in search of the last Foodborne Illness Outbreak or trying to prevent the next one, I try to spend time with my kids.  My youngest, Sydney (a.k.a. Squid) is an animal lover, so we tend to watch some episode of “Animal Planet” before she (more likely me) falls asleep.  On of our favorite shows has been “Shark Week” which is usually filled with scary scenes of near misses or not.  For some reason, the fear of being munched by a shark (about 60 a year on average world-wide) is of a far greater concern than the some 1,000,000 Salmonella cases yearly – just in the United States.  Perhaps I need to produce a new show for TV – “Foods that can Kill You.”  Here are a few episodes in the last week featuring turkey, cantaloupe, a bakery and a pancake feed:

Episode 1 – Salmonella Hadar-contaminated Jennie-O Turkey Causes 12 Illnesses in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The detection of this outbreak began with the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services notifying FSIS of a patient diagnosed with salmonellosis caused by Salmonella serotype Hadar.  The investigation expanded to include 12 people in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Washington, and Wisconsin who also have been diagnosed with Salmonella Hadar infection, with illnesses occurring between December 2010 and March 2011. Working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state public health partners, FSIS determined that three of the patients in Colorado, Ohio, and Wisconsin specifically reported eating Jennie-O Turkey prior to illness onset and hospitalization; the last of these illnesses was reported on March 14, 2011.

Jennie-O Turkey Store, a Willmar, Minn. establishment, is now recalling approximately 54,960 pounds of frozen, raw turkey burger products that may be contaminated with Salmonella, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. As FSIS continues its investigation of illnesses related to this recall, additional raw turkey products may be recalled. As a result, FSIS is alerting consumers to take extra care when preparing all raw turkey products.

Episode 2 – Salmonella Outbreak from DeFusco’s Bakery Leads to at Least 56 Illnesses, With 26 of Requiring Hospitalization.

News from the outbreak of severely injured folks stemming from the DeFusco’s Bakery continued to get worse this week with news that nine new cases were have been detected, bringing the total to 56, including 1 death, with 26 of those requiring hospitalization.  The number of hospitalized victims in this outbreak is unusually high and likely due to the age of the majority of the victims.  The elderly are especially vulnerable to serious complications as a result of foodborne illnesses.  It was reported that as of yesterday 9 people still remained hospitalized.  Also, swabs taken from cardboard boxes where empty pastry shells were stored at DeFusco’s Bakery in Johnston, tested positive for Salmonella. The boxes previously held raw eggs. If any of those eggs were infected and had broken open, residue in the boxes could have led to the Salmonella outbreak that has sickened dozens of people, health officials say.

Episode 3 – Marler Clark Files the First Lawsuit Related to the Del Monte Salmonella Cantaloupe Outbreak.

On Friday, Marler Clark filed the first lawsuit stemming from an outbreak of Salmonella-contaminated Del Monte cantaloupe that, according to the CDC, has led to 13 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Panama in Oregon (5 cases), Washington (4 cases), California (2 cases), Colorado (1 case) and Maryland (1 case.  According tot he FDA, Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc. recalled 4,992 cartons of cantaloupes, because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella Panama. The cantaloupes were distributed through warehouse clubs in Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.

Episode 4 – Salmonella Contaminated Sausages at Pancake Feed in Maryland Result in Illnesses.

Illnesses from Salmonella have been linked to consumption of sausage at a benefit pancake breakfast held in early March in Thurmont, according to the Frederick County Health Department.  The sausage for the Thurmont event was from a previous event, the Frederick County 4-H Camp Center Country Butchering, held Jan. 27 at the Mount Pleasant Ruritan Club in Mount Pleasant. Samples of sausage sold to consumers from the same butchering were tested at the state health department laboratory and found to contain Salmonella.

If you want to keep up on current outbreaks, visit my blog, Marler Blog.  If you are the historical type, you can search the Foodborne Illness Outbreak Database.  And, no lawyer/shark jokes please.